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Thoughts on "An Inconvenient Truth"

Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" is now available on the premium cable channels, as I stumbled upon it this morning. I missed the first 15 minutes and the last 20-30 minutes, but overall I'm fairly impressed. Combine this with the Discover Channel's special on global warming, and the picture is pretty bleak. Even if they're only half right, we are not looking at a particularly good future.

Everybody, I think, will agree that global climate change is real. The weather this decade is different from the weather last decade, is different from the weather the decade before that. Where people get uppity is when the phrase "global warming" is used, as if to indicate that the planet is getting hotter. Which, it is, based on statistics, but that's not the point. But, I think there's a lot more to be said on this subject than even people like Gore have said.

What I found most striking about the data presented in Gore's slideshow was that we've already passed the peak where previous ice ages have occurred. Why aren't we in an ice age now? Strikes me as odd. The only thing I can figure is that the last ice age was so massive that it's taking more warming to actually trigger the next ice age.

What I also found interesting is this focus on fighting against global warming, as if we can stop the next ice age. How arrogant is that? I mean, seriously, if we're already past the peaks correlated with previous ice ages (btw, these are peaks in terms of temp and CO2), then shouldn't we instead be planning for how to cope with the next ice age? It seems to me that the next ice age is coming, whether we cut emissions or not. The "environmental" policies advocated may slow this coming change, but it really looks from the data to be a foregone conclusion.

This, I think, is a perfect example of how humans are completely unable to cope psychologically with an abstract threat. If you'd like to know what I mean, check out this piece in the LA Times by noted psychologist Daniel Gilbert. But, I digress...

Anyway, the other thing that I noticed was a failure to mention shifting magnetic poles. This is a rare phenomenon, but not unheard of. And, we know that the poles are, in fact, beginning to shift. Shifting poles initially manifests itself as a weakened magnetic field, which will eventually become a neutral field, and then build back up after poles reassert themselves in new locations. Oh, and don't count on the "flip" to be symmetric.

The combined impact here could be chaos and anarchy. Think about how the US responded to Hurricane Katrina. Now apply that globally in the advent of a massive, sweeping ice age. Then add in the loss of magnetic navigation and surveying. Land rights become muddled. And so on. Could be very bad.

References on magnetic pole shifting:


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